This 30-credit Master of Arts degree is composed of 3 Required Core Courses, 3 Customizable Core Courses, and 4 Elective Courses.

We recognize the transdisciplinarity nature of the field and we encourage you to customize your studies to meet your unique career goals and trajectory. You’ll work with an adviser to design a course of study that best suits your needs and interests.

Core Courses - Required

Complete all 3 courses.

Regarding the two-week onsite seminar, this course is a unique type of compressed-format experience that has been identified as an intensive learning opportunity. There may be additional expenses beyond tuition to consider, including travel to and from the location, accommodations, and meals, as well as any specified field trip fees as detailed during the course registration process.

This course offers an in-depth exploration of World Heritage by focusing on the concept of heritage, both tangible and intangible, its historical development, its international conventions, and the role of society and history in its past, present, and future. Students will be asked to engage critically with contemporary heritage concepts such as authenticity, ownership, assessment, value, and preservation that form much of our global understanding of the field of cultural heritage studies. Through case studies, lectures, discussions, and readings, students will explore international heritage policy as structured by the institutional complex, and consider both its local and global impact.

Why is the past important for the present and future? What remnants of the past should be protected? This course will introduce the foundational theoretical and methodological principles of cultural heritage management, with special emphasis on their socio-political and economic impacts. It will briefly survey the historical development of the concept of cultural heritage from the 18th century to the present and will explain how the fundamental concepts of “authenticity” and “integrity” have been applied. The course will feature a multi-week group activity in learning about and using methods of documentation, inventorying, and evaluation, which will be shown to be key skills for every heritage manager. It will identify the leadership skills integral to effective cultural heritage project management: assessing needs, describing goals, defining indicators, identifying tasks and necessary resources, and evaluating the progress of management initiatives.

A two-week intensive period of on-ground heritage management study in a location organized by the MA in Cultural Heritage Management program. The seminar includes practicum opportunities related to site management, heritage tourism, and conservation alongside classroom sessions that integrate daily experiences. Using the rich diversity of the designated location, the seminar provides students with the chance to use what they have learned in their prior courses, develop networks with fellow students and heritage experts, and explore the latest in cultural heritage practice.

Seminars require some assignments and activities before arriving onsite. Students work on directed activities during the 10 days/ two weeks, coupled with multiple site visits focused on the academic work being accomplished. Daily journal entries and a post-seminar reflection paper require students to synthesize knowledge gained across their courses in the Cultural Heritage Management program.

Note: As a prerequisite, students must have completed at least six courses in the program, including 465.702 and 465.704 . Students are responsible for travel to and from the location, accommodations, meals, and any specified field trip fees.

Waiver option: Students unable to participate in the onsite seminar must enroll in the internship course (465.780) and complete a synthesis paper to fulfill related components of the MA degree requirements.

Core Courses - Customizable

Choose 3 courses:

This course examines the unique challenges faced by academics and practitioners in defining, preserving and managing rural, natural, and urban heritage at a landscape scale. The multiplicity of interests involved add to the complexity and require robust engagement strategies. Students will use a regional, national and international perspective to derive best practices for understanding the breadth of the cultural landscape concept and the opportunities for its sustainable development. Students are strongly encouraged to take this course before enrolling in the Two-Week Onsite Cultural Heritage Management Seminar (465.708).

This course introduces students to cultural heritage law, as it relates to the interpretation, ownership, management, and protection of both tangible and intangible heritage. Using case studies taken from the court dockets and newspaper headlines, students will develop a solid background in relevant national and international legal concepts, while exploring how the law is implemented through policy and practice. They will also examine the impact of heritage’s continuing politicization, including the use (and misuse) of heritage in public commemoration, nation building, armed conflict, and violent extremism. To this end, from a global perspective, and through a legal and policy lens, the course takes an in depth look at key challenges and controversies affecting the field. It considers what can and cannot—and, for that matter, what should and should not—be done to protect heritage, and how these decisions affect politics, economics, and security from the local to the international levels.

Thanks to the efforts of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) over several decades, the global heritage enterprise has been expanded to include ‘intangible cultural heritage,’ the often ephemeral and ever-changing cultural beliefs, practices, and expressions that are embodied and shared by communities, groups, and individuals all over the world. The course, Issues in Intangible Cultural Heritage, explores this relatively new category of heritage, tracing the development of the ICH concept and related policy through pre-cursor concepts, concerns, and activities at the global level, from the 1970s through to today. Grounded in a critical engagement with the heritage and museum studies literature, particularly the thriving international ICH discourse and debates, and through critical analysis of case studies from across the globe, students will explore the challenges that arise with respect to safeguarding and promoting living cultural beliefs, practices, and expressions, as well as engage with key features of conducting community-based ICH work of their own.

Interpretation is a key component of cultural heritage management and the visible link between heritage and its diverse publics. This course considers current practice and emerging developments in the field as well as a broad range of heritage both tangible and intangible: from museums and sites, to archeological excavations, to urban and rural landscapes, and both the natural and built environment. It asks students to evaluate the role of interpretation in site management and looks critically at interpretation across global landscapes considering both the intended and unintended consequences of chosen narratives. This course looks closely at audience and community, the control of narrative and interpretation, and the short and long-term impact in terms of identity and access. As well as discusses the skills identified across the sector for heritage interpreters and how they are used to create effective experiences.

Heritage institutions, agencies, and organizations increasingly recognize the value of bottom-up approaches to heritage management. This class will explore issues related to community engagement in the heritage sector as students strategize ways to engage various constituencies in identifying, documenting, conserving, and interpreting heritage. Working from a lens of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, we will examine case studies throughout the United States and the world. Exploring the opportunities and challenges faced by such projects and examining the failures and successes will result in a broader understanding of best practices in the field and help us formulate effective strategies for future engagement.

A Neolithic settlement in Scotland, at risk due to coastal erosion, is digitally preserved through precise 3D laser scanning; the construction of the massive towers at Cologne Cathedral is brought to life with digital photogrammetry and augmented reality; multilayered cultural heritage information, images, and damage assessments are catalogued in open source databases. These are just a few examples of how a growing number of scholars, researchers, and practitioners are using the latest technology as a means to document, visualize, interpret, and preserve cultural heritage worldwide.

This course will explore the ways in which cultural heritage professionals are implementing the latest digital technologies to enhance research, conservation, management and preservation of tangible and intangible heritage, as well as methods of education and engagement for visitors. Through lectures, readings, assignments, and social media, students will identify, analyze and debate the use of documentation, visualization and content creation technology currently being used in the cultural heritage engagement, studies and practice, as well as envision its use for the future.

Elective Courses

Select 4 Electives.

For your convenience, some electives are presented as a collection of related courses within a Focus Area. These curated collections will help you to identify the targeted knowledge and experiences available to distinguish yourself in your field. Once admitted, your academic adviser can help you to optimize your elective course selections based on your educational objectives.

This program has curated four Focus Areas:
• Cultural Resource Management
• Parks and People
• Outreach and Interpretation
• Global Heritage

Alternatively, you may select additional Core Courses as electives. You may also wish to examine and select up to 2 AAP courses outside of this degree program to count toward your electives; for example, all MA in Museum Studies degree courses are eligible electives. Please confer with your academic adviser when considering potential alternatives.

An internship at a cultural heritage organization, approved by the internship coordinator, may be substituted for one elective course. To fulfill the internship requirement, a student must complete a minimum of 80 hours of work on-site and a project, (either a research paper or a practical product) on an approved topic related to his/her experience, due at the end of the semester. Students also participate in online discussion and course work during the semester. Before registering for the internship option, the student should contact the internship coordinator for approval. At least four to six weeks before the beginning of the semester in which the internship will take place, the student must submit: 1) a description of the internship weekly duties including activities and/or responsibilities; 2) learning objectives and goals; 3) why this experience should be part of the Cultural Heritage Management degree; and 4) a signed letter of commitment from the internship supervisor. Students must have completed a minimum of two courses in the program before registering for this internship.

Focus Area Electives: Cultural Resource Management

You can pull together a suite of courses that satisfy the Professional Qualification Standards that CRM professionals must meet including the educational requirements of 36 CFR 61 federal qualification criteria.

In addition to the elective courses listed below, this program's Customizable Core Course - 465.740 - has content relevant to this Focus Area.

The supervised research course enables students to investigate a significant problem or issue in cultural heritage and to develop and demonstrate leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills. The research project is expected to result in a written deliverable that makes a contribution to the field of cultural heritage broadly defined. Coursework, assignments, and meetings with a faculty member will take place in an online course environment. This course is normally completed toward the end of the degree program.

Potential students for this course must complete the Turning Your Topic Into A Good Research Question Research Skills Module and submit a Research Proposal/ question form prior to registering. On this form, students will describe their topic and research question. Please reach out to your academic advisor in order to complete this step. The course instructor will review the proposals and determine project appropriateness and enrollment eligibility. Students will register for this course through the add/drop form.

This course is recommended for students seeking to satisfy 36 CFR 61 federal qualification standards. These are standards used by the National Park Service previously published in the Code of Federal Regulations.

The jobs of History, Archaeology and Architectural History include the following minimal professional qualifications (respectively):

  • Substantial contribution through research and publication to the body of scholarly knowledge in the field of history.
  • Demonstrated ability to carry research to completion.
  • Substantial contribution through research and publication to the body of scholarly knowledge in the field of American architectural history.

In the United States, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) outlines a process by which government agencies (and those who receive government funding) must return human remains and sacred objects to those who claim them. Repatriation is a complicated process because it means something different in almost every case. One of its earliest claims took 20-years to resolve. In 2017, the Ancient One was returned to the tribes of the Columbia River for reburial after DNA tests proved the relationship that tribes had claimed all along. But now reproductions of the Ancient One’s skull are being sold by a company that holds the copyright. When those from outside the culture to which he was returned can examine and/or profit from a replica, the distinction between compliance with the law and the ethics of return is clear. Outside of the United States, few repatriation laws exist and many argue that institutions like The British Museum are the best places to protect world heritage. Is providing care of and access to human remains and cultural objects preferable over returning heritage to those from which it was taken? In this course, we examine repatriation claims around the globe in order to critique NAGPRA and establish a compliance toolkit. Where NAGPRA doesn’t apply, heritage professionals can use the successes and failures of past repatriations, and a firm grounding in ethics, to make repatriation decisions. Nothing in NAGPRA prohibits practitioners from exceeding its scope and seeking out opportunities to build relationships with descendent communities even when repatriation is not required by law.

Heritage sites serve as physical testimony to human culture's uniqueness. As some sites are under incremental or catastrophic threat, future professionals must better understand the digital preservation process to monitor, manage, and protect our shared history and culture for future generations. Over the last decade, there has been a significant rise in the development of digital cultural heritage projects worldwide. From photorealistic recreations for educational content to immersive virtual reality installations at museums, contemporary technologies can offer new insight into our understanding of the past and play a critical role in making culture more accessible to wider audiences. This course will introduce students to a broad range of documentation technologies and visualization methods, offering a comprehensive understanding of digital content development. Instruction will include seven days of onsite fieldwork. Students will understand the benefits and limitations of the technology to make informed decisions when working at a heritage site, commissioning a digital project, or developing heritage outreach materials through online and onsite course components.

Focus Area Electives: Parks and People

In addition to the elective courses listed below, this program's Customizable Core Courses - 465.707, 465.730, and 465.732 - each have content relevant to this Focus Area.

The 21st century has seen an unprecedented threat to our global heritage— from natural disasters, extreme weather events, and climate change, to military conflicts in some of our most sensitive areas of global heritage alongside the intentional targeting of cultural sites for destruction. In this course students will gain an understanding of the risks facing our global heritage. They will be introduced to a variety of security strategies and technologies implemented to protect and preserve sites from 21st century threats. And they will analyze the pros and cons of various approaches to create their own security and disaster mitigation proposals.

This course explores the practice and theory of heritage tourism and the history of its developments and impacts. Through the lens of sustainable economic development, it will examine the benefits and challenges of tourism and site management in both rural and urban contexts. We will look closely at the relationship between culture, heritage, and tourism by examining a range of topics including the use of natural and cultural heritage resources for tourism development, understanding tourism development and tourist motivations, impacts of heritage tourism, international examples of heritage tourism and the importance of sustainability.

Focus Area Electives: Outreach and Interpretation

In addition to the elective course listed below, this program's Customizable Core Courses - 465.720, 465.730 and 465.732 - and this program's Elective Courses - 465.734 and 465.746 - each have content relevant to this Focus Area.

Do we have a duty to remember certain historic events and to forget others? Societies have long built monuments to memorialize significant events and people --- and iconoclasts and revolutionaries have famously and infamously torn them down. Public monuments or “lieux de mémoire” are powerful social sites whose protection, interpretation, and contestation are central to cultural heritage management and affected memory communities. This course investigates the theoretical relationship between public monuments and collective memory. How do we decide which memories—and monuments--to retain and which to let go? Why do some memories gain mythic status and others recede from view? How do societies cope with memories of traumatic experiences? What role has digital technology played in reshaping collective memory and memorializing practices? Drawing upon canonical texts in critical heritage and memory studies, students will consider what is officially included and excluded from our memory canon and explore case studies of how public monuments come to embody collective memories. The class will focus on these reflections through an ethical lens and prepare students to approach these sites of memories as informed and self-reflexive professionals.

Focus Area Electives: Global Heritage

In addition to the elective course listed below, this program's Customizable Core Course - 465.710 - and this program's Elective Courses - 465.720, 465.734, and 465.746 - each have content relevant to this Focus Area.

The role of cultural heritage in global developmental policy emphasizes a human centered and inclusive approach. The course will introduce students to the current global discourse on sustainable economic development and unpack the role of cultural heritage including the socio-economic impacts of investment. Students will consider the role of cultural heritage in long term development strategies and policy in order to assess impacts and effects. Cultural heritage will be considered as both a means and an end.

Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

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